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Understand Your Energy Consumption

Selectra has useful tips to help you keep it under control. Call us to lower your energy costs.

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Energy efficiency in your home

appliance energy efficiency

Do you put your heating on only to feel cold moments after turning it off? Heat will rapidly flee the scene if your house is not optimised to keep it trapped inside. The older the house, the more likely it is that you’ll have more problems to fix and more measures to implement when it comes to retaining your heat. Not just that, but your electricity bill will most likely be higher than that of a newer home. On this page you’ll find our top tips to increase the efficiency of your home, all whilst maintaining the aesthetic feel of your home’s design.


We can save you money whatever your energy consumptionCall us for free and talk to one of our energy advisors to get the cheapest deal on the market right now. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

Home Improvents for energy efficiency

#1 - Double that glazing

Let’s start with the basics. Roughly 25% of lost household heat is lost through windows and doors, especially when you still have wooden, gappy frames. Nowadays, most people have already made the switch and have benefitted greatly from the added insulation; however, there are still many older property owners that don’t want to compromise the aesthetic property that the wooden frame gives them, so they haven’t switched. Well, not all double glazed frames are uPVC anymore: you can opt for oak, timber or pretty much anything you desire.

Wooden window with double glazing looking into a living room
Source: Everest

#2 - Change your light bulbs

Don’t underestimate the difference it could make by changing these little beauties. Older light bulb types like halogen and incandescent used to be the latest technology. This was at a time when renewable technologies were but a distance thought. As fear grows about depleting fossil fuels, energy efficiency is becoming a major priority and as such, light bulbs have become extremely more advanced than their descendents. Newer bulb types, such as LED and CFL, use around 75% less electricity than halogen bulbs, which could save you an extremely large amount of money on your bills.

In addition, we’re aware that many people struggle to remember to turn off lights in their house, some more than others, which is why we have come up with this plan for you.

  1. Discover which rooms’ lights are left on the most by accident
  2. Install these rooms with motion sensor light switch. These can be bought from most DIY shops and online.
  3. No longer do you have to worry about needless electricity costs from leaving your lights on.

#3 - Don’t let heat leave through your chimney

A large majority of us in the UK have a fireplace or at least some form of chimney, especially in older houses. Little do we realise just how much heat is leaving our living rooms through the chimney when we are not using the fire. Now that wood and coal fires are not our primary method of heating, we need to start thinking about what we can do with them when they are not in use. We understand that fireplaces can often be treated as an aesthetic addition to a room's design and as such, should not be affected visually by any efficiency measures, so here’s what we have for you:

  1. The first option you have is probably the best if you want to fully keep the aesthetic of your fireplace intact. So, how do you manage to insulate your fireplace and stop heat from being lost through the chimney without touching the exterior? Well, you block off the interior. You may be thinking “but what happens when I want to use the fire?”. This device is a temporary measure that can be removed and inserted quickly and easily. This is called the ‘Chimney Balloon’ and is an inflatable balloon that is perfectly designed to prevent heat loss through your chimney. It is also completely safe if you forget to remove it when you use your fire: it will simply melt and deflate.
  2. The second option will slightly affect the appearance of your fireplace, but can be made to look barely visible. By attaching an external fireplace cover you can easily open and close the door-type mechanism. This blocks off the entrance to the chimney breast, meaning you’ve essentially got a temporary fully bricked wall. Be wary of the quality of fireplace cover that you buy, as low quality materials stand to give you very little benefit.

#4 - Prioritise roof over walls

Although an average 35% of heat leaves your house through the walls in contrast to the 25% lost through the roof, wall insulation is a huge job and costs much more money to buy and install than roof insulation. As we all know, hot air rises, and as such it is important to catch the large amounts of heat that are going up into the roof. Many other experts will advise that you should test the less expensive methods of improving household efficiency before you spend a fortune on large scale renovations. We are in agreement and as such think you should first try to stuff your roof with some decent quality insulation and monitor a trial period to measure your results. If this is non-effective then it could be that wall insulation is your only option for large scale improvement.

#5 - Revise your flooring

In addition, or as an alternative, to roof and wall insulation, you should definitely think about your flooring. Another 15% of your household heat is generally lost through the floor, which means it is just as important as your insulation. As with other household efficiency improvements, you should first consider smaller, cheaper adjustments before you start spending hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on large scale renovations. As such, a good place to start would be purchasing a couple of high quality, thick rugs that you can place in rooms that you most require to be warm. You should still notice quite the difference if you have a hard, solid flooring type.

Not only do ceramic, vinyl, stone and hardwood floors feel colder on your feet when walking on them, but they have actually been proven to provide much less insulation to your floor than carpets and dense rugs. As said previously; however, changing every bit of flooring in your house is not only extremely expensive, but is frequently just not practical, so, we would advise you to consider a smaller adjustment first and see where you are after a trial period.

Check your electrical appliances for energy efficiency

Households in this day and age have an increasing amount of electrical goods, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, an electric toothbrush, to name a few, but some of your kitchen appliances cannot be charged and thus need to be on at all times. Below we will see just how much electricity you consume to keep your kitchen appliances running; it may make you think twice the next time you turn your appliances on.

Energy Efficient Appliances

You have probably seen an energy efficiency rating chart on your fridge freezer or on your oven that will probably have some variation of an A marked on it. You can also have ratings on your TV, PC and oven.

This rating system is the product of a European Union delegation that adopted a rating structure from the American standard called the energy star rating.

three gold energy bars

Energy star is an international standards company for any energy efficient home appliance. The products they recommend use 20%-30% less energy than the standard registered appliances.

So, when searching for your new appliance, don’t just check the price: also check the energy rating, as it will have a positive impact on your energy costs.

Is your energy consumption above average?Find out how you could save money on your energy bills by calling our free service for expert advice. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.


Washing Machines

On a normal cycle you will use around (or more than) 2,000 litres and a year to do your washing, and if you are a family of four or more, it could be twice that.

When you put on a normal wash, you will use between 35-55 litres of water every time.

To save money on your water bill, check to see if you have an eco or quick wash setting so that your load is finished quicker and uses less energy.

A typical washing machine will use around 0.5kWh on a standard setting, using around 1088 kilowatt hours annually.

You will generally use more kilowatt hours if you have a larger sized drum or use sophisticated settings.

Top Fact for Saving EnergyWhen buying a new washing machine, look for an ‘eco cycle’ or ‘quick wash’. This setting will use less water, lower temperatures and will run for less time, therefore using less electricity. The new Samsung eco bubble lets you wash at 15 degrees for 20 minutes, with the same results as a 60-minute wash. This high efficiency feature is a big help when it comes to reducing your energy consumption.


Tumble Dryers

With the weather we have in England, a tumble dryer can be a necessary household appliance to keep your clothes dry.

The average tumble dryer on the market, with an energy rating of A, can cost you £50-£60 a year to run, unlike a dryer with an energy rating of C, which can cost up to £100 a year or more! That is quite the difference! Don’t be mistaken: if you use your tumble dryer a lot, it will be the most expensive appliance in your kitchen. In order to have your tumble dryer run as efficiently as possible, it's important to be on top of its maintenance, such as making sure that its ventilation system is cleaned yearly.

Average usage per cycle: 1.92 - 5.18 kWh
Average annual consumption: 230 - 638 kWh


Oven and Cooker

Your cooker is the centre of attention in many kitchens, being used all the time to cook your favourite meals.

There are many different types of powered cookers out there, including gas powered hobs, electric fan ovens or a gas powered hob.

Some older models have one electric hob and three gas powered hobs with an electric oven, so determining how much you spend on your cooker can be difficult.

Electric ovens can vary in energy use from 0.6-1.00 kW and accompanied with an electric hob, which can run from 0.70 to 1.5 kW.

That can take the hob’s annual consumption (if you are using it for one hour every day) to over 700 kWh. That is close to a quarter of the average home energy consumption for a residental household in the UK.

Gas powered hob and ovens tend to be cheaper, but are less favoured than electric cookers due to their functionality. Based on an hour of use, gas ovens use around 1.52 kWh (of gas) and a gas powered hob about 0.9 kWh.


Fridge Freezer

fridge freezer with door open with man looking at energy rating
Check the energy rating when buying a fridge.

You might think that you waste a lot of energy with your fridge freezer because you leave it on all the time, but you would be surprised at how little energy it uses for cooling compared to other appliances you have.

One of the highest consumers of electricity is an american-style refrigerator at 420 kWh annually.

A normal sized fridge freezer will be from 280 - 350 kWh if it has an energy rating of A or above.

Smaller fridges or an under-counter fridge help to save energy because they consume considerably less electricity over the year, starting at around 109 - 190 kWh. If you have a separate freezer or an under counter freezer the electricity consumed on a yearly basis goes from 170 - 210 kWh.


Dishwashers

A key appliance in any kitchen, if you're lucky to have one, dishwashers use up to 12 litres of water per cycle and over 2500 litres a year, taking up well over 250 kWh annually in electricity.

Save on electricity by only washing when your dishwasher is full, reduce the temperature and select a quick cycle.


Microwaves

Getting your food heated up quickly in a microwave saves you a lot of time and it can be a cheap way to do your cooking.

Microwaves now come with ovens that use less electricity than normal cooker ovens. A normal microwave will use 50 - 150 kWh of electricity a year.


Kettle

Electric kettle

We make a lot of tea in the UK, so the kettle is always being boiled to make your favourite cuppa’.

To boil 1.5 pints you use about 1 kWh of electricity, so 1.5 pints of tea a week will use 52 kWh a year. You can save on your electricity by boiling only the water you need, less water means less electricity.


Here are some other appliances you can find in your home and how much electricity they consume:

Coffee machine
  1. Slow Cooker 1 kWh (per hour)
  2. Iron 0.5-1 kWh (per hour)
  3. Coffee Machine 30-32 kWh (annually)
  4. Toaster 20-22 kWh (annually)
  5. Light Bulb 1 kWh (based on energy efficient lighting lasting for 40 hours)


Average Appliance Energy Use

Figures taken from a minimum of 3 top appliances on the market today.

Below is a table indicating how much you would pay per appliance annually based on today's current market.

Energy Efficiency Ratings
Appliance Yearly cost of lower efficiency appliance Yearly cost of A+ and above appliance
Washing machine (x220 usage) A £28 A+++ £14
Tumble dryer (x220 usage) C £125 A+++ £40
Cookers (6x week usage) A £77 A+ £56
Fridge freezer A+ £46 A+++ £19
Dishwashers (1x week usage) A £7 A+++ £5
Table figures used with e.on’s standard variable 2017 tariff.

Compare the cheapest energy tariffs on the marketOur trained advisors can find you the cheapest deals in just a few minutes. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

Change your habits

Switching your tariff isn’t the only way of saving money on your energy bills: a large majority of us in the UK are spending needless amounts of money on things that could be rectified with little-to-no change in our consumption habits. Not only is reducing your energy consumption good for your bank balance, but for the world that we live in too: reducing our carbon footprint is increasingly vital if we are to continue living the way we are today. By changing our consumption habits ever so slightly, with little-to-no effort, we are able to save hundreds of pounds per year on our energy bills whilst also contributing towards a sustainable future. Below we have suggested 8 common simple saves that we can all use:

1. Not in use? Switch it off.

Light switch

One of the most obvious and basic money saving tips, however one that a large amount of seem to struggle with, is switching appliances off when we are not using them. For example: switching lights off when nobody is in the room; switching the TV off when nobody is watching it; leaving your phone or laptop on when it is fully charged. Making a mental effort to turn things off when you aren’t using them has the potential to save you tens if not hundreds of pounds per year!

2. Not in use? Unplug it.

Unplug your unused appliances

If an appliance is seldom used, you should unplug it. Even if it is turned off but still plugged in, your appliance is still using electricity. According to the US Department of Energy, around 5%-10% of residential electricity bills are made up of those items that are plugged in 24 hours a day. We are not suggesting that you unplug literally everything when you’re not using it, as what we’re trying to do here is save money on your bills without drastically changing your consumption habits. However, what we are suggesting here is that the items that you pretty much never use shouldn’t be connected to the mains.

We can save you money whatever your energy consumptionCall us for free and talk to one of our energy advisors to get the cheapest deal on the market right now. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

3. Switch to LED Lights

LED light bulbs

Switching to LED Energy saving light bulbs can save you hundreds of pounds of year, seeing them use up to 90% less electricity than your older filament type bulbs. LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs are around 10 times more efficient at converting electricity into light than those that we having been using previously. According to a study made by The Telegraph, changing 10 older-style light bulbs, each with a 60W output that were switched on for an average of 10 hours per day, would result in a £240 yearly saving.

4. Say no to screensavers

No computer screensavers

Avoiding using a screensaver on your computer can save you a surprising amount of energy for when you are temporarily not using your computer. Screensavers keep your screen and background active and therefore still requires a large amount of energy to keep it running. Setting a sleep timer on for your computer can avoid this issue and save you some cash. For example, you could go into your settings and say that after 10 minutes of inactivity you would like your computer to go into sleep mode.

5. Full loads! Clothes & Dishes

Washing machine

Waiting that little bit longer until you have a full load for your washing machine or dishwasher can save you money on both your water and electricity. If you have half a load of clothes that need to be washed, why not leave it another day or two until you have a full load? Washing one large load will use considerably less energy than washing two medium loads. Same goes for washing your pots and pans in the dishwasher; waiting a little longer til you have a full load can save you considerable amounts with no extra effort.

6. Hang your clothes to dry

Dry your clothes on the line

One of the most simple energy saving tips that we as Europeans are great at is air drying clothes. Using a drying machine to dry clothes is an unnecessary waste of energy. Investing in a small washing line or airer/clothes horse if you do not have one already is a smart energy saving move that sees next to no change in your lifestyle.

7. Turn the heat down

Turn down your thermostat

Turning your thermostat down by a couple of degrees may seem like a trivial change, which it is in terms of room temperature; however, it can make a huge difference to your bills. Based on a typical 3 bedroom, semi-detached house, turn your thermostat down by just one degree can save you between £80-85 per year.

8. Stop heating rooms for no reason

Turn off the radiator

Using your radiator valves to turn off radiators in rooms that do not need to be heated, such as a spare room or study, can prevent unnecessary heating costs. This is the same principal as turning off appliances when they are not in use; however, some people don’t know that you are able to turn off individual radiators.

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